Wednesday, February 22, 2012

School calendar debate continues

No decision planned until March


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County School District board of trustees is promising the public at least another three weeks of comment time until it makes a decision on what has become a debate over the school calendar.

Some 100 people have already provided comments to the district regarding the possibility of changing the school start date to before, rather than after, Labor Day in early September. For the most part, the public seems opposed to the change.

The issue was scheduled for further discussion at Tuesday night's monthly school board meeting, but the topic was listed as an "information only" item and not scheduled for a vote. Instead, a vote is not planned by the board until its next monthly board meeting on March 13.

The School District is looking at three calendar options. The first would leave the school calendar the way it currently is, with school starting the day after Labor Day and ending after the first week of June.

A second option would revert to the calendar the district had a few years ago, with school starting the last week of August and ending at the end of May.

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A third option would start school even sooner, with school beginning the second to the last week of August and ending prior to the last week of May.

Neither the School District administrators nor the board of trustees has publicly stated a preference. However an "Issue at a Glance" paper prepared last week lists reasons why the district might want to start school earlier.

First, starting earlier would allow students more time to prepare for a myriad of tests required under Idaho law.

Second, the paper states that the College of Southern Idaho start date, at least for the coming school year, is Aug. 21 and continues that "dual credit enrollment for high school students is continuing to increase."

Third, the paper states that athletic and other extra-curricular activities begin in mid-August, two weeks before school currently starts, posing a situation that can affect "attendance and participation."

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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